The Black Keys' El Camino: Rock Album Of The Year

review product headline

$270 More info from brand

Written by Matthew Lentini     11/01/2012 | 04:02 | Category name i.e.MUSIC & MOVIES

The new Black Keys exchange more of the raucous rockabilly rock that you hear from their singles for some tried and true twelve bar blues and strung out, twangy strings reminiscent of Jack White's whammy-infused soloing in the late White Stripes days.

The album kicks off voraciously with the heavy-headed single Lonely Boy. The tone slows down as the album progresses, but this similar melody is replicated later in the album when Hell Of A Season plays, with the same steady bass beat behind vibrant but callous strumming.

Singer Dan Auerbach pulls off more with soulful vocals than the simple combination of voice and distorted mic for the funky vintage sound that fills most of the Keys' singles.

There's an audible style-loan of riff inspiration from the old school of punk and rock thrown in from the generation of The Stooges. It's easy to point out influences here, and the songs tick along with a very familiar yet organic sound. It's pure rock, baked organically, ready to be ingested through your ears.

One of the standout tracks includes Little Black Submarines which sounds often too reminiscent of a Stairway to Heaven with less fervour. Gold On The Ceiling creates a song that sounds all too familiar yet fresh and reinvented, melding Beatles vocals and infectiously catchy, heavy-handed, thick riffs. It's not the aggressive, overdriven onslaught that past tracks have delivered - though there is plenty of buzzing lead guitar and crunchy chord mashing interlaced through the album.

In the band's progression onto the pop scene, breaking out in a big way with the album Brothers and now heading up this year's Coachella festival line-up in the US, there's a liberal sense of departure from strictly rock to a melding of stolen styles from across the last half century - there's the garage rock, the hints of punk, the off-kilter blues with call-and-response lines thrown in - it's all there.

Back-up choirs, rattling snares, high-hat smacking and echoed clapping call in the background of many numbers on this record, in a way that seems clichéd without trying to be ironic. It's unashamedly laden with cheese in one respect, yet unbelievably addictive in another (and not in the guilty pleasure kind of way).

In the same way that Aussie rockers Wolfmother and Jet took to fame with unoriginal but foot-tappingly epic rock beats of garage rock, the novelty may wear thin after a few listens, especially with few stand-out tracks. El Camino plays out in by-the-books rock form as solid as it is catchy though, and nobody today seems to be doing it quite like the Keys. If you're a nostalgia-freak looking for your next hit of old school, pick up El Camino (and the Black Keys' back catalogue).

Top Ranked Reviews

  • First Look: Nokia's new Lumia 930 and 635-A Gloomier Future For iPhone And Android?

    First Look: Nokia's new Lumia 930 and 635-A Gloomier Future For iPhone And Android?

    Nokia has launched its new high-end Lumia 930 and "budget" priced Lumia 635 in Australia at last, officially ushering in the slick new era of Windows Phone 8.1, with 250,000+ apps and plenty of top notch features to take on Apple, Samsung, Google and all others in the battle for mobile computing, cloud and smartphone supremacy!
    Product Rating 0

  • REVIEW Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4 A Game Changer

    REVIEW Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4 A Game Changer

    Every once in a while, a camera comes along that is a game changer. The Minolta SRT-101, the Canon 1D, the very first Nikon Coolpix and the Pentax KX all make the list. And being added to it now is the new Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4.
    Product Rating 5

  • New LG 65

    New LG 65" Ultra High Definition TV, Complete With Pop Down Speakers: REVIEW

    LG Australia has finally rolled out their 65" Ultra High Definition TV offering in Australia and what you get is a TV that delivers a quantum leap in TV technology and surprisingly a significantly improved sound system that is delivered from pop down speakers but the big question is whether it is worth $6,999.
    Product Rating 4.5

  • Westfield To Split

    Westfield To Split

    Shopping giant to separate ANZ, international operation
    Product Rating 0

  • REVIEW:Note 3 Is The Best There Is In Phablet Smartphones

    REVIEW:Note 3 Is The Best There Is In Phablet Smartphones

    If you are one of those people who love technology but struggle to manage the hundreds of apps and the endless capabilities that today's smartphones are capable of delivering then the new Samsung Note 3 is not for you.
    Product Rating 5

Pros & Cons